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233 Reviews
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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Claims a place in my heart for Best Autobiographical military history
I have read countless military history books by now and all the autobiographical ones follow a set pattern: young blood doesn't know he'll make the cut, eventually finds he's doing reasonably well, and reaches a certain proficiency, then becomes depressed with the hopelessness of war and loss. Wellum's book follows the same path but more than any other he puts the reader...
Published on 8 Dec 2006 by M. Boylan

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10 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not gripping
Straight from the horses mouth you can't get closer to a spitfire than this. Or can you? Although the author is clearly made of the right stuff it doesn't make him a great writer. Whole swathes of the war are missed out: there's nothing really about his first battle: how he feels and what happens, nor of his first kill. It's almost as if somebody has taken a diary and...
Published on 28 Aug 2005 by G. Thulbourn


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5.0 out of 5 stars Being Geoff Wellum, 30 July 2009
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This review is from: First Light (Paperback)
This book is one of the best of its kind I have ever read. I couldn't put it down and reading it, I felt like it was me living Geoff Wellum's life. He leads you through his training, through the war until he returns to the RAF after a while of absence. I find it utterly moving, interesting, stunning, precise in both technic and life. You are living his sorties and feel the anger and fear with him when he was sent out to chase the enemy. Without even intending it, he explains how the army operates, how they support each other. This book opens one's eyes in terms of the life of a teenager then and now. Can you imagine a teenager in these days being so determined about his future, a teenager being drilled to go to war, go up in a single engine and fight for his life? Barely (there might be the odd exception). He was so young and became a war veteran at only 22! What a read this book is! He should have written more books because his writing style is gripping.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, 16 Jun 2009
By 
E. H. (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: First Light (Hardcover)
A great book from start to finish, lots of action and escapades even during his training. Gives you a much more personal account of the Battle of Britain and life in the RAF than most books do. Some of his thoughts about his friends are quite hard hitting which pulls you into his situation very well.
My only complaint is that it wasn't longer! Very much recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, vivid and raw, 31 May 2009
By 
J. C. Richardson "JCR" (East Anglia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: First Light (Paperback)
I won't say much in this review, as suspect it's all been said already. This book is definitely a recommended read - one man's experience of something it is hard to imagine today, yet should be and frequently, to remind the world how devastating the cost of war is.

I do rather disagree with Amazon's review however ("...The only one false note is his desire to see his role as part of a bigger picture; written many years after the events he describes, Wellum sometimes interjects thoughts and feelings about the war that simply do not ring true. ...") I didn't find this the case at all. I felt it was understandable and completely genuine. Sorry Amazon! (you're still the greatest bookseller of all time though).
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the 'few', 6 April 2009
This review is from: First Light (Paperback)
A great personal account of those dramatic summer days in the skies of England in 1940, during the BofB from one of the 'few'who flew as part of 92 Squadron. Some of the descriptions of him being up in his spitfire are wonderful. I read it a while ago, and have just read D-Day Dodger, which is about another teenager only 17 while he was right in the thick of it in Italy in 1943 in the Ox's & Bucks Light Infantry. Obviously the same war, but very different experiences, although sadly the one thing is common is the loss of close mates. The D-Day Dodger
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!, 17 Mar 2009
By 
Mark Bradley - See all my reviews
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This review is from: First Light (Paperback)
I rarely read and I never give reviews but I feel that having just finished this book less than 10 minutes ago I am compelled to spread the word of how good this piece of literature is!

Geoffrey Wellum will take you on a story from joining the RAF, through training at the age of 16 all the way through his exploits as an RAF Pilot in the second world war, The dogfights with the me 109's and the patrols he gave to bombers going over France are in detail. You feel that you're in the plane with him, willing him to get out of trouble and get back to England safely.

This is a superb book, You will be totally gripped. Quite simply a must read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply humbling., 10 Mar 2009
By 
Mr. J. Bramley "iFoneGooner" (Scunthorpe, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: First Light (Paperback)
I have over many years since a child read countless books about fighter pilots from two world wars. I have read about fighter pilots from the other side as well. This book, out of all the accounts from those such as Deere, Bader, Johnnie Johnson, Galland simply stands out tall. Why? Well quite frankly it is the first account I can ever remember where you could almost taste and more importantly feel, the fear as this young boy became a man hurling a killing machine through the skies over England. I only have one misgiving, the book was not long enough for me, I just wanted to read and read and I never wanted it to end. Humbling, yes. Inspirational, certainly. Awesome in execution, without equal.
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5.0 out of 5 stars First Class, 28 Feb 2009
This review is from: First Light (Paperback)
This book is wonderfully written and a compelling read. I am in agreement with all the positive comments made by other reviewers; it is an unusually fine accomplishment. In a parallel vein is John Welham's "With Naval Wings" and I recommend this autobiography equally.

Apart from painting personal cameos of the horror, privations and successes characterising the conflict, these works cause us to reflect upon what has happened to a country so valiantly defended by this selfless generation.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Boy got himself a DFC, 23 Jun 2003
This review is from: First Light (Paperback)
I will merely agree with what others say and add that you should buy this book now. Make sure that you have several hours of your life spare, because you will not want to put it down.
Why only 4 stars then? I was a little disappointed with the second half of the book which was light on detail about actual encounters with "the hun". I didn't expect a blow-by-blow account of dogfights, but the contrast in detail between training and operational experience was striking.
The book was hurried towards the end and came to an abrupt halt, this may be intentional due to the authors operational career doing the same thing. I found myself wanting to know more and what happened to him. I could have read on for another few hundred pages!
I suspect that the lack of detail is due to not keeping a diary, the authors free time was precious and stress levels unthinkable, keeping alive was all that mattered...
Buy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 2 Dec 2003
By 
Mark Lillywhite "mlillywh" (Reading, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: First Light (Paperback)
As a lad I always wanted to be a pilot and this book has to be the closest thing to actually joining the RAF and learning to fly. Well written, involving, not too technical and full of really good descritpions. Its like sitting in the cockpit with him...
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5.0 out of 5 stars First Light - Best personal account of the Battle of Britain, 7 Jan 2004
This review is from: First Light (Paperback)
You actually feel like you are up there with him, the stories are gripping and at the same time I find in incredible that anyone could survive many of the scenerios Wellum found himself up against. But yet he survived them all. A truly remarkable read.
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First Light by Geoffrey Wellum (Paperback - 1 May 2003)
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